Wayne State University

Wayne State University researcher appointed executive guest editor of Current Pharmaceutical Design

DETROIT — Asfar S. Azmi, Ph.D., research associate in WSU’s School of Medicine and resident of Westland, Mich., guest edited a recent Current Pharmaceutical Design issue highlighting the “guardian angel gene” called p53, which has potential to be used in cancer therapy. Azmi’s appointment is unique, as executive guest editors of the journal are typically full professors.

Nine groups of p53 research experts wrote reviews under Azmi’s theme: “Pharmaceutical Reactivation of p53 Pathways in Cancer.”

P53 is described as the guardian angel gene because of its role in initiating cell suicide in cancer cells. But when p53 is dysfunctional, cancer is able to spread throughout the body. “The majority of cancers have dysfunctional p53, either through mutation of the p53 gene itself or alterations in factors that modulate p53’s stability and activity,” said Azmi. “This has led to numerous strategies to combat cancer by reactivating p53 or related pathways in tumor cells.”

These strategies are discussed in the issue by contributing experts from Harvard University, University of Southern California, University of Maryland, University of Alabama, University of Liverpool in England, Rudjer Boskovic Institute in Croatia, and the University of Trieste and University of Ferrara in Italy. The issue fosters an interaction among p53 researchers that, according to Azmi, “is critical for the development of pharmaceutical agents to be successfully utilized as a single cure, in a preventative regimen or as a supplement to reduce the toxic chemotherapeutics presently used as anti-cancer agents.”

Current Pharmaceutical Design covers research in rational drug design from such subject areas as medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, drug targets and disease mechanism. Each issue is dedicated to a single major therapeutic area and guest edited by an authority in the field.


Wayne State University is one of the nation’s pre-eminent public research universities in an urban setting. Through its multidisciplinary approach to research and education, and its ongoing collaboration with government, industry and other institutions, the university seeks to enhance economic growth and improve the quality of life in the city of Detroit, state of Michigan and throughout the world. For more information about research at Wayne State University, visit http://www.research.wayne.edu.